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IVR Gets a Bad Rap

Sometimes ridiculed as both a maze and a labyrinth, interactive voice response (IVR) systems have been easy targets of cheap shots. Everybody has their own memory of a bad experience with an IVR that typically started with “Si usted habla español, oprima número uno” and ended three minutes later with this message: “To contact a...

10 ways IVR can improve the customer experience

IVR is the abbreviation for interactive voice response, but the first two letters could also signify an injection of new life into your customers’ experience - as in a medical IV.  How are your customers going to connect with a well-designed IVR system? Let us count the ways: 1. Efficient Call Routing The built-in call...

Happy call center agents = happy customers

UPDATE: This article was also published in the ICMI blog If we accept the premise that happy call center agents make for happy customers, we have to agree on at least one of our definitions. We pretty much know what makes for happy customers, because they either tell us in so many words, or show...

Enhancing the customer experience in the cloud

If you’re running an on-premise contact center and your computer support equipment is beginning to age a bit, you may be at a decision crossroads: Should you shell out the big bucks for new hardware? While you’re at it, what about the great new integrated customer management technology that everyone has been telling you about?...

The Role of Customer Interface in Customer Experience Management

According to experts, the essence of customer experience management (CEM) – the process of managing a customer's entire experience with a product or a company – is treating customers as individuals. However, with the growing trend toward online purchases and socialization, interactions through traditional channels, such as in-store purchases and call center communications, often fall...

Creating a Seamless Customer Experience Across Channels

In the modern age people are extremely savvy about technological channels of communication and are selective about the usage of such channels. With options expanded from traditional technologies such as phone and email to newer channels such as chat and social media, one thing is clear about people’s use of such communication means: they strive...

The Power of a Personalized Experience Starts with Customer Preferences

In her article The Power of a Personalized Experience, Cynthia Clark at 1to1Media echoed our own sentiments about personalizing the customer experience through preferences in an article we posted earlier this month. After considering her own experiences with a corner grocer who knew her mother's preferences without the use of technology and a database, and...

The hills are alive with the sound of... the Voice of the Customer!

Remember the memorable camera shot at the beginning of the Julie Andrews movie, “The Sound of Music”? This 1965 classic begins with an aerial shot of the Austrian Alps and pans in on Ms. Andrews, who exuberantly croons the memorable, “The hills are alive…!” At the risk of mistreating a metaphor, one could say that...

How Workforce Management (WFM) software keeps honest people honest

Probably one of the most sensitive and difficult management challenges is, as one CallCenter magazine piece puts it (rather dryly), “monitor(ing) each agent’s adherence to schedules.”  In medium to large call centers, when the agent logs in, it is the equivalent to punching a time card. The “adherence” part is all about ensuring the monitoring...

Workforce Management (WFM) software is critical to your call center operation

Workforce management (WFM) software is becoming more and more popular with companies that rely on efficient call center support. Call centers are the “front door” to your operation. Scheduling the right combination of people to match the peaks and valleys of customer calls is all about knowing how and when to schedule your greeters and...

Workforce management (WFM) software works better than intuition

Need to make your call center more productive, less wasteful of time and talent and your bottom line closer to your top estimates? Workforce management (WFM) software is your key resource in meeting all three of those goals. According to a “CallCenter” Magazine piece… “The most important thing that most call centers can do to improve...

Improving the Customer Experience With Preferences

  The modern online consumer world is one in which there is an explosion of data available about our tastes. Google’s search is highly personalized and part of the search engine leader’s corporate vision is making its search as uniquely fine-tuned to the user as possible. Also, anyone with a Netflix account knows how deeply...

Why the Voice of the Customer is a Driver of ROI

When discussing return on investment (ROI), it is very tempting to focus on the factors that seem to be the most concrete: hardware costs, recurring monthly service fees, IT salaries, and other items that easily transfer over to a balance sheet. However, in the field of contact centers that deal with direct customer engagement, we...

Utilities Customer Engagement: Still Many Challenges Ahead

Everyone agrees that customer engagement at utilities across the country, and even around the world has improved greatly in the last few years, but there are still many challenges ahead. Utilities face so many challenges that the industry has even seen the birth of a new type of executive -- the utilities executive as a rock star....

Customer Self Service: The Future is Now

Customer self service is not a new idea. Banks have been using self service features for decades. ATM's and online account management are just two ways banks have been able to help customers help themselves while reducing customer service costs. All businesses can learn much from the banking industry's history of leveraging customer self service....

What Cloud-based Call Centers Mean for Your Customers

The benefits that cloud-based call centers provide to businesses are garnering a lot of attention. The industry is touting its low TCO, scalability and better disaster recovery. While the cloud offers some impressive benefits to call centers, nobody is talking about how it benefits customers. The cloud works on a scalable outsourcing principle, pulling resources from multiple...

Smart Grid 2.0 Requires Utilities to Improve Customer Engagement

Electricity is all around us and we rely on it daily, but many consumers take it for granted until their service is interrupted by a power failure.  In the digital age, electricity is absolutely essential for a vibrant economy and for a high quality of life.  As utilities seek to update the smart grid to...

Cost and convenience might be the tiebreakers in premise vs. hosted call centers

Call center technology should be at the core of your customer resource management. It consists of the hardware, software and skilled people to screen, refer and handle customer inquiries, complaints and (if you do it right) future business. Among other things, the best call center technology gives the customer the most hassle-free experience. The person...

You Get the Customer Experience Idea, What’s Missing is Customer Engagement

Without even trying every company produces a customer experience – good or bad – when they interact with their customers. But no business in today’s service-driven economy can afford to leave it at that. You have probably defined an ideal customer experience and have many solutions in place to help your company create it: an...

Customers Want a Conversation

I just saw where Spencer Dean (@SpenceDean) of inContact (@inContact) posted “Do you collaborate with your customers?” on LinkedIn and referenced an article by Brandon Evans (@brandone) of CrowdTap (@Crowdtap). The article is entitled “Customers Don’t Want Ads, They Want A Conversation” and I think it’s great. It talks about the shift from marketing “at”...